Image by Kim Olson, Flickr CC
Why I think more BC International Education professionals should attend the NAFSA Region I conference
In October, I went to the NAFSA Region I conference in Boise, Idaho. On my last day in Boise, while speaking to some colleagues about what a great experience I had, I made a commitment to try and increase BC representation at the annual conference.
As the Manager of our Annual Summer Seminar Conference (which is in Victoria from June 19–22, 2016 – mark the date!) one might wonder why I am promoting another International Education Conference that is so close to home. Here are just some reasons why:
1. Cross-border collaboration. In a field where we need to be innovative and keeping pace with a fast-changing world, collaboration is key. Despite the 48th parallel that separates our individual national histories, our neighbours just south of the border in Washington, Oregon and Idaho share more similarities with BC than is often acknowledged. There is much we can learn from one another and that cross-border cooperation may just very well be one key to our own growth and success.
2. They want us there. We are the only Canadian province that is included in a NAFSA Region. Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington requested that BC be a part of the Region I community. If that is not cross-border comradery, I am not sure what is.
3. It is different. You will meet different people with different experiences and ideas and go to different types of sessions. This year, the conference topics ranged from Leadership in International Education and Intercultural Competencies to discussions on Financing Study Abroad and Student Advising Techniques. Other issues addressed included Mental Health and various forms of student support. Take a look at the 2015 concurrent session topics to get a feel for some of the presentations.
4. It is affordable. At $240 for early registration (and discounts are offered if your proposal is accepted) even with the not-so-pleasant exchange rate, it is a pretty good price.
5. The academic insights. After my three days in Boise I walked away with new perspectives on how to approach different aspects of International Education, new theories for imparting best practices and a list of books to check out of the library. From connecting theory to practice and sharing knowledge, NAFSA Region I is time and money well-spent.
The next conference will be in October, 2016 in Anchorage, Alaska. I look forward to seeing you there!